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The Censorship Industrial Complex
I think something is seriously wrong with my brain. Yesterday, I hallucinated that Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger testified before a subcommittee of the US House of Representatives about the Censorship Industrial Complex, i.e., the US arm of the global official propaganda and disinformation apparatus that has been waging an all-out war on dissent for the better part of the last six years.
I know this couldn’t have actually happened, and was just an extended hallucination (probably the result of the copious amount of drugs I consumed in my misspent youth, or the effects of a Commie bio-weapon with a fatality rate of less than one percent, because I’ve been writing about The War on Dissent (2018), and The Criminalization of Dissent (2021), and the global Corporate COINTELPRO op (2017), and The War on Reality (2021), and The Manufacturing of Reality (2021), and Manufacturing Truth (2018), and Manufacturing Normality (2016), and The Road to Totalitarianism (2022), and The Gaslighting of the Masses (2022) … well, for quite some time. So, I’m sure it was just an hallucination, because there’s no way Matt and Shellenberger were actually sitting there talking about how …
“We learned Twitter, Facebook, Google, and other companies developed a formal system for taking in moderation ‘requests’ from every corner of government: the FBI, DHS, HHS, DOD, the Global Engagement Center at State, even the CIA. For every government agency scanning Twitter, there were perhaps 20 quasi-private entities doing the same, including Stanford’s Election Integrity Project, Newsguard, the Global Disinformation Index, and others, many taxpayer-funded.” (Matt Taibbi’s Statement to Congress)
… and documenting the coordinated censorship of sources that interfered with certain official narratives, like “Russiagate” and “The Apocalpytic Virus” …
… because that’s just a crazy “conspiracy theory.”
I am also sure I was hallucinating yesterday, because, right in the middle of my hallucination, right around the time that Stacey Plaskett started squawking like a demon pterodactyl, I had another hallucination, like my hallucinating self was hallucinating, which was like being in a Christopher Nolan film. In this one, Matt asked me to talk about how I was being censored by Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, et al., and their governmental and NGO partners in 2021, and I started babbling all this “conspiracy theory” stuff about the very “Censorship-Industrial-Complex” that Matt and Shellenberger were testifying about in the hallucination I appeared to be hallucinating the other hallucination in.
And then my hallucination got weird.
Now, it’s been quite a while since I’ve indulged in any seriously mind-bending drugs, but this reminded me of a bad LSD trip, like when Satan starts talking to you through the TV. There I was, happily hallucinating these two distinguished independent journalists who had done all this historic reporting on a story of extreme importance and had been invited to Congress to talk about it, and, suddenly, it all went dark and twisted.
Stacey Plaskett, the Ranking Member of the House Judiciary subcommittee started badgering, insulting, smearing, and baiting Matt and Shellenberger like Joe McCarthy in drag. Trembling with hatred, she accused them of being members of some sort of Substack-based death squad that “poses a direct threat to people who oppose them,” and of stochastically terrorizing Yoel Roth, the former Twitter Censorship Czar, and of unleashing “homophobia and anti-Semitism” on him. Then she launched into a spittle-flecked rant about “January 6” and “threatening our democracy,” until she was restrained by James Jordan, the Subcommittee Chairman. And this was just during her opening remarks.
The other Democrats soon joined in the bullying, and lying, and smearing, and sneering, and generally acting like prosecutors at some hate-drunk witch trial. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who, for whatever reasons, is still allowed to serve in Congress after being forced to resign as the DNC Chair for rigging the 2016 election, staged a whole dog-and-pony show with blow-up photos of Joe Rogan and so on. Sylvia Garcia, who appeared to be drunk, demanded that Matt reveal his source, and then, when he refused, repeatedly tried to weasel it out of him with all the deftness of a one-legged idiot in an ass-kicking contest. Colin Allred put on a PowerPoint show involving Kanye West’s anti-Semitic tweets, random bigots on Twitter, and the Russian agents who conspired against him (i.e., Allred) personally, and then lectured Matt about the “threats to our democracy” and called him a “conspiracy theorist.” Stephen Lynch went full-McCarthy, demanding that the witnesses affirm they “believe that Russians interfered in the 2016 election.”
And so on. I told you things got twisted. Thank God it was just an hallucination and not a live, televised demonstration of precisely what I have been trying to describe the emergence of for the last six years, which is a new totalitarian form of global capitalism that no longer needs to maintain the pretense of upholding (or respecting) our “democratic rights,” because it has no external adversaries, and thus is free to morph into a quasi-Orwellian dystopia where any and all forms of dissent from official ideology can (and must) be delegitimized as “disinformation,” “misinformation, and even “malinformation,” and corporate-owned political puppets feel no compunction whatsoever about behaving like vicious little fascists on television because they know they have the fearsome power of the global-capitalist machine behind them, no matter how openly (and badly) they lie, and that their fanatical followers will parrot any propaganda they are given to parrot, no matter how patently false or absurd, and will spew their mindless hatred at whomever they are ordered to spew it at, and otherwise act like a bunch of fascists.
Anyway, thank God that was just a bad flashback, or a minor cerebral infarction, or whatever, because, if it wasn’t … what a total bummer!
OK, seriously now, I assume that some of my regular readers might be confused by this essay. After all, I have been rather critical of Elon Musk and his handling of the “Twitter Files.” And now, here I am, celebrating Matt and Shellenberger’s testimony yesterday. Did I not call the Twitter Files a limited hangout? Yes, I did. And I will do it again. But not today. Today I will celebrate. I will raise a glass to Matt and Michael Shellenberger, Bari Weiss, and the other Twitter Files journalists. I will even raise a glass to Elon Musk (who continues to maliciously defame and censor me and others like me with fake “content warnings” and other such slimy censorship tactics) for making the Twitter Files available to them.
If that baffles you … well, let me tell you a secret.
The way this little ecosystem works is, writers like me don’t get to testify on television before subcommittees. Actual journalists get to do that. Actual journalists who are “normal” enough. Actual journalists like Matt Taibbi, Michael Shellenberger, Bari Weiss, Glenn Greenwald, et al. You know who I’m talking about. Actual journalists who know where the lines are, who aren’t going to start babbling about “Pathologized Totalitarianism” and “The New Normal Reich” on national television. What writers like me do get to do (and what it is our job to do) is subtly influence, gently pressure, and pester the living hell out of actual journalists who still have a shred of integrity left by saying the things they cannot say, or saying them in a way that they cannot say them, until the time comes when they can almost say them, because we have said them over and over again, and more or less everyone can see them, so it is finally safe to say them, almost.
OK, sure, it doesn’t pay all that much, but it’s fun, and I tend to sleep fairly well.
So, don’t worry, I’ll get back to doing that shortly. The “Censorship-Industrial-Complex” is a much bigger story than just the US division. I’ll be prodding Matt and the other Twitter Files journalists to prod Elon Musk to bring in international journalists to cover the same story in countries like Germany, the UK, Australia, Canada, France, Italy, The Netherlands, and so on. Feel free to join in the fun. Who knows? In another four or five years, we might even find out how this photo simultaneously appeared in every paper of record on the planet in January of 2020 … that is, if we’re not all locked away in “conspiracy theorist” camps by then.
In the meantime, kudos to the Twitter Files Team!